Tag Archives: Charles Darwin

Retraction: Clinton will stay in race after tonight.

You may have noticed that in my previous post I tried to equivocate and I gave the story right from AP as a big quote. This is because I could not reconcile what I was reading internally. It did not make sense, and I suspected that the press was just trying to bring the campaign to a close. This is based not just on what I posted, but what I watched for 10 minutes on MSBNC.Turns out my caution was appropriate:

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton is “absolutely not” planning to concede the campaign to Barack Obama on Tuesday night, Clinton campaign chairman Terry McAuliffe told CNN on Tuesday”No one has the number to be the nominee of the Democratic party right now,” he said.McAuliffe, asked about an AP report that Clinton will acknowledge Tuesday night after the South Dakota and Montana primaries that Obama has the delegates to clinch the nomination for the November presidential election, replied: “They are 100 percent incorrect.”source

Hat Tip Mike

Can Darwin Make You Healthy?

A talk by Mark Decker!May 20, 7 p.m.Bryant-Lake Bowl, Uptown$5-$10 (pay what you can)Darwin wrote about the competition between individuals that results in the survival of the fittest. But what about competitions within individuals, between the cells inside our bodies? In that struggle, cancer cells could be considered the most successful since they are the most prolific. Can Darwin provide us with a novel approach to understanding cancer? How might Darwin explain the degenerative diseases of old age? Some biologists suspect that evolution actually favors diseases of old age. In fact, an evolutionary approach to studying longevity, scrutinizing the lowly roundworm, may yield secrets to a long and vigorous life. Explore these and other medical applications of Darwinism in a discussion with Mark Decker, an evolutionary biologist in the University’s Biology Program.

The Phalarope: Not just another polyandrous bird…


MIT researchers found that phalaropes depend on a surface interaction known as contact angle hysteresis to propel drops of water containing prey upward to their throats. Photo by Robert Lewis
The Phalarope starts out as an interesting bird because of its “reversed” sex-role mating behavior. For at least some species of Phalarope, females dominate males, forcing them to build nests and to care for the eggs that the females place there after mating. If a female suspects that a male is caring for eggs of another female, she may destroy the eggs and force the male to copulate with her a few times, after which she places the newly fertilized eggs in his nest. This polyandrous behavior is probably facilitated by the fact that the lady phalaropes, denizens of extreme climates with short breeding seasons, are capable of rapid egg production … so their egg production converges, kinda, on sperm production … thus allowing them to exploit multiple males for their parenting behavior.Well, it turns out that these birds are interesting in another way: They defy gravity! … sort of … read on:

As Charles Darwin showed nearly 150 years ago, bird beaks are exquisitely adapted to the birds’ feeding strategy. A team of MIT mathematicians and engineers has now explained exactly how some shorebirds use their long, thin beaks to defy gravity and transport food into their mouths.The phalarope, commonly found in western North America, takes advantage of surface interactions between its beak and water droplets to propel bits of food from the tip of its long beak to its mouth, the research team reports in the May 16 issue of Science.These surface interactions depend on the chemical properties of the liquid involved, so phalaropes and about 20 other birds species that use this mechanism are extremely sensitive to anything that contaminates the water surface, especially detergents or oil.

Continue reading The Phalarope: Not just another polyandrous bird…

A Celebration of Darwin’s Legacy Across Academic Disciplines


The Hofstra University Library, Hofstra College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, and the Hofstra Cultural Center present a conference:Darwin’s Reach examines the impact of Darwin and Darwinian evolution on science and society in celebration of the 200th anniversary of the birth of Charles Robert Darwin and the sesquicentennial of the publication of Darwin’s On the Origin of Species (1859).The central theme of this academic conference is an exploration of how Darwin’s ideas have revolutionized our understanding of both the living world and human nature.Papers exploring diverse topics on Darwin’s legacy are invited from a wide variety of disciplines, including the natural and social sciences, humanities and law.

More information here.